Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Top Five Lines from Downton Abbey, S5:E5 (or: “Golly, what a night!”)

Sorry I’m a day late here, folks. I had to rush home from Florida through a snowstorm to watch this one, and, as Cora would say, Golly!, it was so worth it. What a fun episode.

My time is short today (it’s my daughter’s birthday!), so I have to write quickly, but there were a few funny lines that I just had to share.

1. Why don’t we just start at the end, shall we? Because Cora’s ironic understatement after Robert pummels Mr. Bricker, and deservedly so, just made me laugh.

(Side note: I loved Elizabeth McGovern in “She’s Having a Baby” and I feel some sense of loyalty to her because she’s from Evanston and all, but whoooo baby, she’s losing her luster as an actress with this role. Is she not the worst of the cast? Or am I really off base here?)

Anyway, you know the scene. You could have predicted the scene. Heck, you could have written the scene.

Robert comes home early to find Bricker making the moves on poor, neglected Cora. Cora rebuffs him, rightly, but just as she’s ordering him out of her room Robert shows up. (Good thing, too. Could we have had another Downton rape on our hands? We’ll never know.)

Robert hauls off and smacks Bricker with the force of a WWE smack-down. They tussle. Cora screams. Edith knocks.

“Everyone OK in there, Mummy?”

“Oh yes, dear, your father and I were just playing a silly game and knocked over a lamp.”

Let’s just stop here for a second, shall we? Married folk, tell me something. Have you ever played a “silly game” in the privacy of your own room? One that would require you to knock over a lamp? Hmmmmm? And if your kid came to the door to check on you would you actually admit it?

Oh good gracious.

Anyway, after Edith (a.k.a. “Puppet”) leaves and Bricker flees, Robert and Cora are left alone, staring at one another. Leave it to Cora to break the ice with an ill-timed, ill-delivered line:

“Golly, what a night.”
Robert sleeps in his own bed (gasp!), probably because he can’t bear his wife’s stupidity.

2. I still don’t understand why Violet is trying so hard to break up Isobel and Lord Merton, but she is, and she conspires with Dr. Clarkson to help get the job done.

In this scene, I just loved Violet’s sense of determination.

Clarkson asks her forthrightly, “Do you, perhaps, resent a change in position for Mrs. Crawley?”

To which Violet responds: “I do not understand your question. It baffles me.”

Bwahaha. Of course she understood his question. She understood it perfectly. But she brushes it off with such understated sophistication. It was great.

But I think Violet’s next line hit the nail on the head and perhaps harkened back to her own, we’re finding out, less-than-perfect marriage.

“Do you wish to see her live a life devoid of industry and moral worth?”
Isn’t that what psychologists call “transference”?

3. Anybody else cheer like the dickens when Tom kicked Sarah to the curb? Oh boy, that made me so happy. I only wish he hadn’t given her the satisfaction of a kiss. That was lame.

But Sarah doesn’t give up, still hounding Tom over his beliefs and how horrible the aristocracy is. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

Finally, Tom has had enough of it and tells her what’s really been on his mind the whole time:

“You despise the family, but I think you forget that my wife was one of them. My child IS one of them. So where does that leave me?”
Yeah, Sarah. You must have forgotten the whole reason Tom sticks around the big house—his kid. Oh, you didn’t know he had a kid? With Sybil? The one we all loved and adored? You could never take her place.

Just goes to show you that Tom’s next move was the best:

“Maybe we should call it a day before one of us gets hurt.” 
4. I’m not sure that Aunt Rosamund has ever gotten a Top Five favorite before, but this week she does. I just love how she gives it right back to her mother sometimes. Just goes to show that she learned from the best.

The scene was in the garden over, of course, a pot of tea. (Next week we should count how many pots of tea we spot in the show.) The two are sitting there talking in a roundabout way about Edith’s baby. Rosamund is taking it slow, not sure how much her mother knows about the situation, when Violet has had enough of the beating around the bush and says, “Rosamund, you are addressing your mother, not a committee of the Women’s Institute.”

But Rosamund has the perfect comeback: 
“I’m afraid you’ve read somewhere that rudeness in old age is amusing, which is quite wrong, you know.” 
Take THAT, Vi.

5. Still, Violet once again got the BEST line of the night, if not the entire series, when, toward the beginning of the episode, the Granthams are sitting around in the library discussing the nudist colony that will soon be opening in Essex. Rose is, of course, thrilled; Mary is, naturally, skeptical; and Violet is confused.

She’s just not so sure what all the fuss is about a new colony, but Robert then explains that it’s a colony “for people who want to take their clothes off.” (Cue disgusted face.)
“In Essex? Isn’t it terribly damp?”

Ah, Vi. You are smarter than you let on. And that’s why I love you.


Gotta run, but please dish in the comments. I’d love to know your thoughts about this week’s episode and maybe some predictions about next week. Go!


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  1. This is a great series, Shelly. I love slowing down some of these scenes and thinking about them again.


  2. I always enjoy your recaps. I think Cora might have been getting back at her husband a bit when she downplayed the evening with, "Golly, What a night."

    1. Really? That didn't occur to me. You might be right, though. Maybe we'll see some changes in the way Robert treats Cora in the future.